US economic growth revised down slightly
U.S. economic growth was revised down slightly to a still-solid 2.5 percent annual rate in the final three months of last year, as business spent less on investment and restocking shelves than the government had previously estimated.
The fourth-quarter advance in the gross domestic product, the economy’s total output of goods and services, followed even faster increases of 3.1 percent at a seasonally adjusted annual rate in the second quarter and 3.2 percent in the third quarter, the Commerce Department reported Wednesday.
Consumer spending raced ahead at the fastest pace since the spring of 2016, although some of the components such as purchases of furniture and clothing were revised lower. However, these declines were offset by stronger spending on services such as utility bills.
Factors in the downward revision included a greater slowdown by businesses in spending to build up their stockpiles and weaker business investment on structures and intellectual property. The various small revisions pulled down GDP from the initial estimate of 2.6 percent growth.
Economists said the small changes were unlikely to change the upbeat assessment of the economy that Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell delivered to Congress on Tuesday.
“The Fed already knew that the economy had healthy momentum to end 2017, so this does little to change its thinking on the outlook,” said Leslie Preston, senior economist at TD Economics.